Saturday, June 27, 2015

My spiritual connection to diabetes

I may or may not have mentioned on here before that I was diagnosed in a hospital a few states away from home while on a road trip with the BF. That's a story for another time. This story, at this time, is about my long and illustrious history with diabetes, and the sweet (pun intended) irony of my diagnosis.

From the very second the diagnosis "diabetes" was thrown at me, I felt relieved. Like, 100% so incredibly relieved. Something was wrong with me!! Something that could be fixed! I felt little shock, no anger, certainly no depression. Part of this, of course, I'm sure had to do with my sugar-laden blood and general foggy headedness. Part of it, though, had to do with, for lack of a better term, my spiritual connection to diabetes.

The story starts back in my youth. Like many young scrappy 80s and 90s kids, I was big fan of Kristy, Mary-Ann, Claudia, Stacey, and the gang aka the ever-popular kid's book series The Babysitter's Club. And as all good fans know, in book #3, The Truth About Stacey*, we find out that the truth about her is that she, you know, has diabetes. She starts guzzling water, sleeping all the time, sneaking candy bars, losing weight, classic. She denies it, her mom drags her to the doctor, mystery solved. And for the rest of the books, Stacey has diabetes. Well I was always more of a Mary-Ann girl myself (I know, I know, lame choice), but I never forgot the many lessons I learned from BSC and diabetes awareness was one of them.

Fast forward to college...the internet is popular, WebMD is rampant, and I'm going through a small period of (what I feel) is extreme thirst. I'm waking up to pee every night and I've lost weight. Am I exercising and hydrating more to compensate? My mind flashed back to Ann M. Martin's vivid descriptions of Stacey's symptoms...Or do I have diabetes? We all know which one WebMD told me...and what I made the mistake of mentioning to a few roommates/friends/family members in an offhand way. We all laughed it off, and I definitely didn't have diabetes. Then a few months later...I happened to make the same internet-based mistake and diagnosed myself with the potential symptoms of being on the autism spectrum....and the makings of a permanent inside joke were created.

I even (and this is the one everyone's really kicking themselves over) brought it up semi-casually last spring when I was feeling so sick. Aware of my reputation and previous diagnosis failures, yet unable to deny what the almighty Google had said when I had searched my symptoms, I attempted to discuss things with the BF and one of my closest friends. To be honest, I don't really remember this, but they do...and they assured me that when I tried to suggest diabetes, they laughed. In my face. And then I laughed too and said yeah it was probably ovarian cysts like usual. Because everyone knows that internet diagnoses are crazy!!

Until. Until one fateful day last summer when I called my dad (way less likely to freak out than mom) and told him, haltingly, that I was in the hospital, had been there for a few hours, and I had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He laughed. I laughed. It was awkward, because then he was like what??? and naturally very concerned. But eventually the message was communicated.

And with that, my spiritual link came to fruition, and while I in no way actually believe that I brought this on myself, it still felt weirdly right in a way. Like, yes....this belongs to me. And so when I said earlier that I felt 100% relieved, that's not completely true. I think I felt more like 98% relieved. And 2% proud that I had been right all along. Safe in the knowledge that all future WebMD diagnoses made by me will be given the respect they deserve.

*I want the world to know that I did not need to google the number/title of the book, I knew it by heart. Go me!!
**I also want the world to know that I do not think diabetes is awesome. And while I think it's funny that I felt a "connection" to it from a young age, actually getting diagnosed with it at a young age is of course no laughing matter.
***Also if you are ever curious, there is a comedian called Mike Birbiglia (spelling?) who had his WebMD diagnosis come true too!! So it really does happen, people...

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